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New York to require booster shots for health care workers

Max Schulte

New York is joining a handful of states in requiring health care workers to get a COVID-19 booster shot.

Gov. Kathy Hochul said Friday that she was expanding on a vaccine mandate she instituted last fall requiring health care workers to get vaccinated because too many breakthrough infections were being reported among health care workers.

"Staff is getting sick. They're leaving. We need them to get well," Hochul said at a news conference. "We need them to have the best fortification they possibly can and that means getting a booster shot as well."

The Democrat said under the new order, health care workers will be required to get their shots within two weeks of becoming eligible for a booster. That's as soon as two months for people who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and five months for people who received the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.

Health care workers will only be exempt from the booster mandate if they have a medical reason for not being eligible to receive the shot.

The new mandate means New York will join other states, such as California and New Mexico, in requiring boosters for health care workers.

Also on Friday, Hochul announced new rules for nursing home visitations. Beginning on Wednesday, all visitors must wear surgical type masks and upon entry to a nursing home they must present a COVID negative test that was taken within 24 hours of their visit.

Hochul said that 952,000 tests and 1.2 million masks are being delivered to nursing homes late this week into next.

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